Monday, October 3, 2016

Three Lives Books' Building Sold

Back in June, Three Lives & Co. Books announced that their building was up for sale. On a month-to-month lease, they hoped the future new owner would let them stay.

I just found out, thanks to a tipster, that the sale of the building went through last week. And it does not look good for Three Lives.

Papers filed with the New York City Department of Finance reveal the buyer is Oliver's Company. They paid $14 million -- that's $4 million more than the asking price.

On their website, Oliver's Realty Group is described as "the independent investment, development and brokerage arm of Oliver's Company, LLC, formed in 1995 to specialize in luxury residential real estate." Oliver's developments all look the same, from the High Line-hugging Caledonia to Tribeca Park.

The company is run by David J. Wine, a real estate professional "with unparalleled knowledge and insight into the luxury rental and condominium markets in Manhattan." Before forming Oliver's, Wine was Vice Chairman at mega-developer Related.

David J. Wine

Is it possible that Mr. Wine will let Three Lives remain? Maybe he's a real book lover. Maybe he wants to be a hero--and avoid bad PR--by preserving this essential Greenwich Village small business. But he might need some encouragement.

State Senator Brad Hoylman wrote a letter to the former owners in July, asking for a multi-year lease. Co-signed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, and City Councilman Corey Johnson, the letter read: "Three Lives & Company is one of the last independent bookstores in our area. It would be a loss for small business, the uniqueness of New York City and booklovers everywhere to see Three Lives & Company close at this location."

#SaveNYC is ready to fight for Three Lives. We can't lose this great bookstore, not another one, for more high-rent blight, and then another chain, or another boutique or trendy restaurant that will shutter in a few years.

This is our city, too.


Brian said...

Three Lives is a quintessential bookstore in the quintessential Greenwich Village area. It is perfect locale needed for a movie taking place in the Village. No way is it going to stay unless it pays much more rent. And after living in NYC for two decades, I feel beaten, this is not my city, as much as I would like it to be. Take a picture because it will be gone within a year.

Paula said...

How ironic: On one of my many walks into the West Village I recently past by Three Lives Books and thought the building so charming that I took some photographs. To now see that the business is in jeopardy is simply too depressing for words.

I can only hope that some old and reputable businesses in the WV -- Myers of Keswick on Hudson Street, for example, were prescient enough to purchase the building when they first opened -- or have extremely long leases. I'm sick of seeing such a sea of soulless clothing and chain businesses open where once lived wonderful "mom and pop" shops of all sorts.

John K said...

Let me just say that I've purchased many books from Three Lives over the years, but I had to beg them to stock my first book (did they? St. Mark's, the Strand, etc. all did) and, like 192 Books, have not always found them to be too friendly. That said, I support Three Lives as an important and necessary indie bookseller. But I don't think it's looking good for them. They can't generate the exorbitant rents the greedsters like Wine want, and the way the tax laws and financials work, Wine and company will benefit by finding a high-paying chain (and it won't be a bookstore!), shuttling boutiques in and out, or letting the storefront sit empty. I saw a number of empty storefronts today on the UES, where there's no shortage of small businesses willing to pay premium, and I thought, the real estate greedsters who own these empty strorefronts are going to chain everything they can if they can. They're swallowing up Jersey City too. It's sickening, but the "Democrats" in office are going right along with it. Hypergentrification = progress (and campaign donations, in their minds).

BTW1: people seem to get annoyed or bored when I talk about this stuff, so I've learned not to talk about it, but I feel the same way I did back in 2005-6; this insanity isn't sustainable, is it?

BTW2: Did you notice that longtime hardcore lifting spot Steel Gym on 23rd Street is gone, now replaced by the discount chain Scottrade? And it was right across from this new Scottrade that the Chelsea terrorist planted his bomb?

Scout said...

I really do adore Three Lives, but for the last 10 years or so, I've had the place ENTIRELY to myself whenever I visit. I haven't seen another customer in ages.

If you really want these places to survive, one easy thing you can do is patronize them - go, visit, hang out, and most important - BUY their stock.

Unknown said...

Best bookstore anywhere, ever. And I've been around long enough to remember when it was on Seventh Avenue. Indispensable.

Miss Candy Darling said...

I assumed that Three Lives (at that location, at least) is unquestionably history. I figured that Wine plans to tear the building down and put up a new residential building. Or is there something I'm missing? Is the building landmarked?

Moshe Benyamini said...

I believe the building is landmarked. However, this man paid 40 percent above asking price. And with the current administration, I don't believe that landmarking would mean anything. Three Lives is a cultural institution, arguably the best bookstore in the city. We all love it so much. If the worst happens and Toby is evicted, lets help him find a new home. He deserves it, his staff deserves it and we do as well. It is our bookshop.

James said...

It appears that a new lease was signed. The books stay.